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Vancouver’s DTES Heart of the City Festival in 2022

Heart of the City Festival

Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival celebrates the area’s art, history, culture and people through live theatre, music, workshops and more.

In 2022 the festival runs from October 26th until November 6th. It features over 100 events in 12 days.

 


Click Heart of the City Festival for the event’s official website.


 

Heart of the City Festival

 

DTES Heart of the City Festival

The annual Heart of the City Festival shares traditions, art forms and stories about Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Local organizations partner with the festival and help organize events such as readings, musical performances, galleries, talks and celebrations.

2020 was a year of struggles and problems worldwide, with issues impacting Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside especially hard. Last year’s theme was “This Gives Us Strength,” which was something that all of us needed!

The festival’s theme for 2021 was “Stories We Need to Hear”, which seemed appropriate given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the fentanyl crisis and the reality of systemic racism.

In 2022 the festival’s theme is “Community Is Our Mentor”, encouraging everyone to listen and learn from local organizations, artists and ancestors.

The festival is presented by the Vancouver Moving Theatre in partnership with the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians, the Carnegie Community Centre, and several other community partners.

 

Heart of the City, Sid Chow & Love Intersections (by David Cooper)
Sid Chow & Love Intersections

 

Festival Dates and Locations

All events are typically held throughout Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. In 2020, because of the coronavirus pandemic, most (but not all) activities happened online.

In 2021 the festival ran from October 27th until November 7th. The season featured live and online events. There were workshops, panel discussions, music performances, storytelling events, theatre, visual art exhibits and other activities.

In 2022 the Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival runs from Wednesday, October 26th, until Sunday, November 6th. Events are happening both online and in-person once again.

 


Click Heart of the City Festival for the event’s official website.


 

Heart Of The City lexwst'ilem Drum Group
lexwst’ilem Drum Group

 

Festival Activities

During years when there isn’t a global pandemic, multiple events take place each day, many of which are free or by donation. Events include music, theatre, poetry, film, dance, multimedia, visual arts, history walks, workshops and panel discussions.

 

2022 Events

Below are some of the events scheduled for the 2022 festival. For more information see the DTES Hear of the City Festival‘s website.

 

Festival Opening Ceremony

Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

  • The festival begins with a free opening ceremony. Special guests include Marr Dorvault, Bob Baker, a drum group, dancers and more.
  • 1:00 pm at Carnegie Community Centre Theatre at 401 Main Street.

For details about this event click Festival Opening Ceremony.

 

‘The Gathering’ Mural Launch

Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

  • Richard Tetrault, Charlene Johnny, Marissa Nahanee and Jerry Whitehead add seven new panels to the mural.
  • 4:00 pm at Carnegie Community Centre Theatre at 401 Main Street.

For details about this event click The Gathering Mural Launch. Admission is free.

 

Honouring Our Grandmothers – Keep the Fires Burning

Wednesday, October 26th, to Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

  • Various ceremonies, storytelling and art in honour of Downtown Eastside grandmothers. The events happen at VALU CO-OP Studio, Massy Arts Gallery and Oppenheimer Park on October 26th, 27th and 29th, as well as on November 2nd and 3rd.

For details about this event click Honouring Our Grandmothers.

 

Larissa Healey (Photos by David Cooper)
Larissa Healey

 

Light Up the Night: Travis Lupick

Thursday, October 27th, 2022

  • Award-winning journalist Travis Lupick shares stories from his newest book.
  • Pre-recorded and made available at 1:00 pm.

For details about this free online event click Light Up the Night.

 

Intangible Treasures of the Downtown Eastside

Thursday, October 27th, 2022

  • Short plays on Zoom by local artists, produced by Runaway Moon Theatre and Vancouver Moving Theatre.
  • At 7:00 pm online and at the Carnegie Viewing Room at 401 Main Street.

To learn more and to register for this free online event, click Intangible Treasures.

 


Click Heart of the City Festival for the event’s official website.


 

8th Symposium on Reconciliation & Redress in the Arts

Friday, October 28th, 2022

  • Stories Have Always Been Our Governance is a culture deep-dive featuring a panel of leaders, a musical performance and breakout training.
  • Online from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

For details, tickets and to register for this event click 8th Symposium. Admission is free for residents of the DTES, about $50 for people from non-profit organizations and $80 for participants from public agencies.

 

Housing Justice with SRO Tenants

Saturday, October 29th, 2022

  • Interactive film screening featuring three short films and a conversation circle.
  • 1:00 to 3:00 pm at the Carnegie Theatre at 401 Main Street.

For details about this free event click Housing Justice.

 

Two Amigos Walking Tour

Sunday, October 30th, 2022

  • Walking tour in the Downtown Eastside with John Atkin and Bob Sung.
  • Begins at 10:00 am.

For tickets and details about this free event click Two Amigos Walking Tour.

 

Sid Chow Tan (by David Cooper)
Sid Chow Tan (by David Cooper)

 

3rd Annual Legion of Flying Monkeys Evil Cult Singalong

Monday, October 31st, 2022

  • A fun folk-rock singalong with unique instruments.
  • Starts at 4:00 pm at MacLean Park, located at 710 Keefer Street.

For details about this free event click Legion of Flying Monkeys.

 

Shadow Jam

Tuesday, November 1st, 2022

  • Art is Vital by Illicit Projects is an interactive workshop with live theatre, puppetry and music. Snacks and drinks are included.
  • Starts at 7:00 pm at the InterUrban Gallery at 1 E. Hastings Street.

For details about the event click Shadow Jam. Admission is free.

 

Collage for Self-Discovery and Expressive Art

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022

  • A workshop about collages in which participants enjoy inclusive activities while exploring things about themselves.
  • Runs from 1:00 to 3:00 pm at the EWMA Studio, located at 800 E. Hastings.

For details about this free event click 2022 Festival Program.

 

IronFest III

Thursday, November 3rd to Saturday, November 5th, 2022

  • Live music featuring SICK BOSS, Josh Zubot & Strings, Feven Kidane, Alexander Hawkins, Kate Gentile and more.
  • Shows are at The Ironworks at 235 Alexander Street each night.

For tickets and information about this event click IronFest III. Admission costs $25.

 

Heart of City Festival at Ironworks
Paton, Diamantakiou & Bamford at Ironworks III

 


Click Heart of the City Festival for the event’s official website.


 

Honouring Writers of the Downtown Eastside

Saturday, November 5th, 2022

  • An event celebrating inspiring writers and poets, including Sandy Cameron, Bud Osborn, Muriel Marjorie and more.
  • At 12:00, 2:00, 4:00 and 7:00 pm at the Carnegie Community Centre Theatre.

For details about this free event click Honouring Our Writers.

 

The Prop Master’s Dream

Saturday, November 5th, 2022

  • A new Vancouver Cantonese Opera show based on the life of Wah-Kwan Gwan.
  • Shows at 2:00 and 7:00 pm at the Annex Theatre at 823 Seymour Street.

For tickets and details about this event click Prop Master’s Dream. Tickets cost between $35 and $45.

 

The Prop Master's Dream (photo by David Cooper)
The Prop Master’s Dream

 

Together in Peace

Sunday, November 6th, 2022

  • An event celebrating inspiring writers and poets, including Sandy Cameron, Bud Osborn, Muriel Marjorie and more.
  • At 3:00 pm at the Ukrainian Hall, located at 805 East Pender Street.

For details about this event click Together in Peace. Tickets cost $25 for adults and $10 for children (ages 6 to 12).

 

In addition to the above, there were many other events worth checking out. For more details regarding each event, visit the Heart of the City Festival website.

 

2021 Festival Video

The following video features artists and other people that participated in the festival in 2021. Photos in the video are by David Cooper.

 

 

About the Festival

The DTES Heart of the City Festival is presented by the Vancouver Moving Theatre. In a typical year the event includes 100 or more events at as many as forty or so different locations.

Vancouver Moving Theatre is a community-engaged arts organization that is based in the city’s Downtown Eastside. It creates original productions including Bah Humbug! which was an annual Christmas play that raised funds for the DTES Heart of the City Festival up until 2019.

The Downtown Eastside (DTES) is one of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods, rich in culture and heritage, and the historic heart of the city.

 


Click Heart of the City Festival for the event’s official website.


 

Day Of the Dead Altar Video

November 2nd is known as the Day of the Dead in Mexico. It’s kind of like Halloween, but where Mexicans celebrate the return of departed souls. It’s not a scary day (even though some of its decorations look kind of scary). The occasion is commemorated with Day of the Dead altars, which are called “Altars de los Muertos” in Spanish. People also dress up as “Catrinas” in skull-like makeup and skeleton costumes.

The video below is of a Day of the Dead Altar in downtown Vancouver during the Heart of the City Festival in 2020. Interestingly, the DTES festival coincides with Latin American Heritage Month which was celebrated in Vancouver from October 14th until November 2nd in 2021.

 

 

Other Information

For the most up-to-date information regarding the DTES festival see the Heart of the City Festival website.

Other articles that might be of interest include the following:

Note: Photos in this article in 2022 (including the ones at the top of this page but not any with the Vancouver’s Best Places logo), are by David Cooper.

 

Historical Chinatown Tours